This contribution is the result of an investigation on the speciation of two 3-hydroxy-4-pyridinone ligands in the presence of metal cations of biological and environmental interest. The 3-hydroxy-4-pyridinones (3,4-HPs) are a family of compounds, derivatives of deferiprone, which have been extensively developed as possible strong chelators and metal-related pharmaceutical drugs, due to their important role in pharmaceutical/bioenvironmental processes, as for the sequestration of specific metal cations (Mn+) from the human body and biological fluids, or also as metal-carriers for therapeutics or imaging purposes [1,2]. The binding ability of two ligands belonging to this class of compounds towards metal cations of biological (Ca2+, Mg2+) and environmental (Al3+)  interest was investigated performing potentiometric and UV-Vis spectrophotometric measurements at different conditions of ionic strengths and temperatures. The elaboration of experimental data led to the determination of complex species with different stoichiometry. 1H NMR titrations and computational studies were carried out to gain information on the metal-ligand coordination mode. Futhermore, the sequestering ability of the ligands towards the metal cations under study was investigated at different pH values by the determination of an empirical and quantitative parameter, the pL0.5, already proposed by the research group . It represents the total concentration of ligand required to sequester the 50% of the metal cation present in trace in solution. The quantification of the sequestering ability of a ligand towards Mn+ is very important for remediation processes, chemical treatment of waters and for applications involving the use of a chelating agent. In fact, in all these cases, having information on the amount of ligand to be used, is very important in order to optimize the entire processes.
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